Saturday, February 6, 2016

Is It Camping Season Yet?

Hey Down Home Friends,
Is it camping season yet? I just want to know just how long it will be before we get to go! Finally the days are getting a little longer and we are getting closer to the time change, so it is prime time to dust off your gear and get ready for the next adventure. I will admit that camping does take a little bit of thought and preparation and it can seem like a chore just to get out and have a good time but being prepared can make or break a trip.
Considering one of my responsibilities is the food for our trips, I have had to find ways to make this chore a little more palatable. Lord knows trying to figure out a family meal plan on a Thursday night after a long week is just no fun at all. So to conquer the camping meal woes, I start planning for our trips well in advance of any trip.

On an ongoing basis, I pin recipes and camping ideas as I find them. That way when I am busy and trying to prepare for a trip, I have a place to find those go to ideas and recipes. We camp a lot so new and fresh ideas are always fun to try out and it keeps it interesting. When we shop we shop for our regular groceries and always buy things for the next trip to freeze. Before things are put away after a trip to the store, things are clearly marked as camping food. If multiple items are needed for one trip they are put in a bag together in the freezer. Additionally, I always have a box in the pantry that holds camping dry goods. I buy it when I am out and put it in the box waiting for the next trip. And lastly, we always have our pantry stocked in the camper with foods that require nothing to prepare like soups. This way if we get the itch to run out the door without any time to prepare, we have the basics to survive on!
Happy Trails!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Value Of Mindless Creativity!

 Hey Down Home Friends,
I just couldn't wait for summer to begin because I had plans to make something or just anything just for fun. As soon as school was out I went right back to work for a couple of weeks and my craft plans got put on the back burner. Once I had the time to get a little creative I couldn't figure out what I wanted to create. The truth is, I have had a long dry spell with no creativity and I wasn't sure if I would ever break the cycle. On a trip to Hobby Lobby I ran across this premade banner. I liked parts of it and kept going back to look at it. Considering I could never jump start my creative juices with a solid plan like normal I decided to just create something on a whim without any real direction. Why not, what could it hurt? Resisting the urge to plan everything out, I decided on the grab and go method. I grabbed the banner and started grabbing embellishments resisting the urge to plan it in my head.
 I honestly started second guessing myself for buying a project I didn't plan for or think though. But as it turns out it was a perfect project because all I had to do was hot glue the items on the banner and tie some ribbon. It honestly was a perfect project to get me thinking creatively. All I had to concentrate on was the element of design and placement of the pieces.
I kind of got lost in thought.
Once I had finished I hung it up and looked at it. It was easy and simple but most of all it helped me to recharge my thinking. It made me wonder if kids feel the same way. I remember the value of creativity as a child.
I craved creativity and it was critical for me to have that outlet.
As a young child I knew creativity was important in my life. It is sad that there isn't much time for creativity in school today. I started thinking of ways I could change that for my class this coming year. Really creativity is part of problem solving too. The process of creativity is far more valuable than the actual product. The process of creating something and just getting lost in the process turned out to be just what I needed. It got my mind recharged and ready to start thinking of my goals and plans for the coming year. You could say it was money well spent.
  Once I hung it up I decided it would go in my tiny trailer across the window. It has plenty of space left on it to glue trinkets found on my travels around Texas. And if I decided I didn't like it I knew I could rip it apart and start again! The good news is that once this project was complete I knew my creative dry spell was over and ever since then I have been...moving on!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Inks Lake State Park

Welcome Down Home Friends,
It is finally summertime which gives us a chance to get out and about. I was so excited to be able to return to one of my favorite places in Texas. Inks Lake State Park is one of those places where I long to go to kick back and enjoy the outdoors. It was the first place I considered when deciding on a location for a Father's Day fishing themed celebration. With so much to see and do I knew it would be the perfect spot for this celebration.
And when I say perfect spot I mean just that! A place where you can drag your kayaks out from your campsite is the ultimate spot for me. I swear we got the best site in the entire park although there were several good ones that we saw along the way.
Knowing that I had little time to prepare for this celebration, I hunted around the house and grabbed what I could for a little inspiration. After my initial hunt for anything fish related, I realized I did have other things on hand I could use for props to go along with what you see here. I realized I had camping dishes and lanterns that would work well too. As I was packing for the trip, I just added what I could to the travel bag if I thought it fit the theme. Knowing that time would be short the week leading up to the trip, I started to worry about the cake. I had grand visions of creating something on my own but I realized that with working all week and not having ever really decorated a cake before, I might need to consider plan B.
I was able to get a local grocery store to make the cake and create the water and land. Unfortunately they did not have the cake kit so I had to find it on my own. I was able to find it on Amazon and had it delivered in a flash. I have to say it was the easiest cake to put together and I would do it again. I was worried that the cake would not make the three hour drive but they packed it in the box very well and it made it through a bumpy, warm ride just fine.  
I knew I didn't have to worry too much about the food because we always plan that out before we go on any camping trip. I am lucky my husband likes to grill and he had planned on grilling.
My job is simply the...decorations, drinks and dessert!
That plan works for us and I am just fine with that. We usually cook what we would cook at home so getting ready for a trip and planning the meals is no big deal.
With the decorations, drinks, dinner and dessert taken care of we were able to get out and about and take a good look around. Inks Lake has lots of trails and a lot of natural beauty to see. It is hard not to stop and take a picture!
With so much to do and see we never left the park once. We walked, took pictures, rode bikes, kayaked, went on some boat rides, fished and sat by the campfire under the stars. All in all, the fish themed party was a huge success and a memorable celebration that I am sure we will try to recreate next year.
All the party supplies were purchased from Amazon. The basic cake was made by Albertson's Grocery Store and Bakery.
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